The 1888 Queen Anne shingle-style home at 1501 Forest Ave. will remain as it is and where it is, if the City Council follows the recommendation of the Preservation Commission.
The home is an historic landmark structure within the Lakeshore Historic District. It was built by Frank Elliot in the late 1800s, about the same time he gave the lakefront property to the City that is now Elliot Park. Homeowners Jeffrey and Janet Clements petitioned the City last summer to remove some additions that they said were not part of the original design by architect Jeremiah Cady.
They also requested permission to subdivide the lot and relocate the home to a corner of the lot so another house could be built on the property.
Some neighbors, apparently infuriated over the proposed changes, rallied around the house to prevent the proposed changes from being approved. Ann Jennett, who lives in the area, said by e-mail to the RoundTable, “[T]his will do irreparable damage to our Historic Lakefront district, and it sets a dangerous precedent for Evanston. We do not want to see our residential areas subdivided and creating room for new McMansions.”
Frank Cicero, another resident, wrote in a letter to neighbors, “Quite simply, the historic neighborhood and streetscape will be destroyed. In the terms of the Preservation Code, the ‘historic streetscapes; views … of critical features of the landmark … area … or site; and visual compatibility … with the landmarks or area’ all will be forever changed. Approval of the Clements’ proposal inevitably will establish a dangerous precedent that will be eagerly followed by other developers. The Lakeshore Historic District will be eroded.”
Preservation Commission members appeared to agree with the neighbors. Saying they felt the proposed changes would harm the “physical integrity” of the house, they unanimously denied a “certificate of appropriateness,” which would have allowed the Clements to perform the requested modifications.
Although the subdivision of the parcel is a zoning matter, the Preservation Commission also recommended against it.